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Gackt lashes out at Cool Japan: “Almost no results of Japanese culture exported overseas”

While visiting friends who were a part of the recent Naruto stage production, Japanese film and music star Gackt was left with a bad feeling. Having watched one of the overseas Naruto performances, the singer couldn’t help but notice the lack of people in the audience.

Gackt doesn’t rule out possible flaws with the play such as too much material crammed into a short time. However, as he wrote in a recent impassioned blog post, he thinks the real culprit may be the Japanese government and their Cool Japan promotional program, which he feels is anything but.

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Hello Kitty movie slated for 2019 release worldwide

It’s been a bit of a rough year for the kingpins of Japanese cuteness over at Sanrio Co. The mega-hit Frozen has been taking up a sizable share of the merchandising market regularly occupied by their geometric kitties and bunnies causing overseas income to slide by as much as 14.5 percent compared to the previous year.

Hello Kitty fans needn’t worry, however. That’s hardly enough to put the company in jeopardy, but it is causing Miss Kitty to unsheathe her claws and go on the attack. If movies like Frozen are going to cut in on Sanrio’s turf, well then, Sanrio will just have to return the favor.

So get ready, because the Hello Kitty movie is already in the works!

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Haunted, abandoned hotel complex on Okinawa is a lesson against messing with Japan’s spirits

A luxury leisure resort on the lush hillside of Okinawa. Panoramic ocean views. A waterpark, a petting zoo, a night club. Now crumbling into ruins, swallowed up by nature reclaiming the land developers tried to take. Perhaps the owners should have known better than to build on the site of ancient tombs. The local priests warned them. But they didn’t listen.

This is the tale of Okinawa’s Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel, one of the most haunted abandoned sites in Japan.

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You’ll flip out over these amazing character art pancakes! 【Videos】

Our mothers may have discouraged it, but playing with your food can be incredibly fun and rewarding. Even if it turns out looking kind of a mess, you still get to eat it – and who doesn’t love eating delicious food? But one thing we just can’t get the hang of is pancake art. Luckily for us, these amazing videos are here to show us how it’s done!

Featuring all of our beloved characters from Pikachu to Olaf to Hello Kitty, these videos have got us drooling and ready to start splashing batter everywhere ourselves!

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Drive-through for cyclists made possible with McDonald’s brilliant new McBike box! 【Video】

When I was a kid, I loved it when my parents would take me to a McDonald’s drive-through because back then I found it incredibly fascinating and fun that you could order food from inside a car by talking to a box, and then drive around the corner and receive your food from a person in a small window. I even asked my mum if I would be able to order at a drive-through stand on my tricycle, or on foot. Obviously, the answer I got was no.

How times have changed! Now cyclists can pedal into a McDonald’s drive-through stand, and the best part is, their food comes in a neat packaging designed specially for transportation on bicycles!

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Going, going … gone! Starbucks x Alice+Olivia mugs sell out across most of Japan in a single day!

If you’re into fashion, coffee, or both, you may remember the collaborative items that Starbucks and New York-based fashion brand Alice + Olivia came up with, the first of which were released in North America about a year and a half ago. Not surprisingly, the items apparently caused a bit of a craze among fashionistas at the time (seriously, who thinks of something like a tumbler dressed up with a tutu?), with everyone clamoring to get their hands on the limited edition goods.

Well, it turns out the collaboration recently made its way to Japan, but one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch ended up finding out the hard way that the goods were in just as much demand here in Japan as they were in the U.S.!

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What sorcery is this?! New toy aquarium is populated with your own hand-drawn fish 【Video】

Certainly, it is the dream of every kid and a not-insignificant number of adults for their crude doodles of space monsters, stick figures and whatnot to suddenly spring to life. Imagine how much fun you would have if you could actually hang out with that stick figure you drew in third grade!

Let’s ignore the reality that said stick figure would probably just stare at you, handless arm extended towards you in silent accusation at how you gave it such terrible, unholy life. It would be pretty cool to just draw up a new friend to hang out with, or triceratops to ride or something just whenever, right?

Well, Takara Tomy Arts has kind of, sort of figured out a way to make dreams of bringing your drawings to life a reality, with Picturerium, an aquarium that you populate with your own doodles!

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The future has arrived: Lexus reveals prototype of a real Hoverboard

Ever since watching the character of Marty McFly ride his hoverboard in that famous hoverboard chase scene in Back to the Future Part II , I’m sure most kids have wanted to own one. Perhaps that day is not too far away.

Lexus recently released a video teaser for its latest invention, the SLIDE, and while it’s not for sale, the company is on the verge of making the world’s first real rideable hoverboard a reality.

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Four areas in which Japan needs to improve if it wants to attract more overseas travelers

Japan’s National Tourist Organization recently released its statistics on the number of overseas travelers who visited in the country in 2014, and we’re proud to say that 13,413,467 of you came to visit (though we’re also a little hurt that so few of you called us up to get ramen while you were here). That number represents almost a 30-percent increase from the number of foreign tourists Japan received in 2013, and a whopping 60-percent jump compared to 2012.

Still, Japan only ranks 27th globally in its ability to draw travelers from abroad, making it eighth in Asia, behind world-number 22 Korea and number four China.

So what’s holding Japan back from becoming an even more popular international travel destination? RocketNews24’s non-Japanese staff put our heads together, and after getting over the initial pain from our foreheads violently colliding, came up with the following list of areas Japan could do better in that foreign travelers would definitely appreciate.

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The bare essentials: Lingerie-and-wig-only Sailor Moon Cosplay

The first rule of cosplay is that there are no rules. If you don’t want to follow a certain character’s look to a T, then you don’t have to. In fact, there’s all sorts of ways to enjoy cosplay. “Casual cosplay” is one such option. And now, it turns out that lingerie cosplay is another!

Check out this Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus lingerie and wig only cosplay from Geek x Girls! Warning: some of these pic are a little NSFW!

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Five more Japanese words we’d love to import into English

Sometimes, the Japanese language is a pain in the butt. Seriously, how is it that in the millennia over which it evolved, no one ever said, “Hey, guys, why don’t we come up separate words for ‘leg’ and ‘foot’?”, which are both ashi in Japanese?

But speaking Japanese isn’t all frustrating head-scratchers. As we’ve talked about before, it also has some handy, expressive terms and phrases that don’t have direct English equivalents. So today we’re dipping back into our Japanese dictionaries for another batch of words we’d love to import into English.

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Maru the celebricat is done playing with boxes, now wants to become a box himself

Box-loving Japanese kitty Maru has been delighting cat fans for years with his love for cardboard containers of all kinds. Despite being a fluffy chubster, Maru seems to constantly underestimate his own size, leading to much hilarity as he attempts to squeeze his podgy body into boxes and containers that are just way too small for him.

But now, Maru’s taking his act to the next level. No longer content just to squeeze himself into boxes, he’s now embarking upon a transition process to become a box himself

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Announcing the winners of our Anime Encyclopedia 3rd Revised Edition giveaway!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s finally time to announce the winners of our Anime Encyclopedia 3rd Revised Edition giveaway!

Click the link below to find out if you’re one of the four lucky people who won a copy of this gargantuan guide to all things anime!

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Deco-curry 101: How to make “Rilakkuma bath-time curry” at home

When it comes to food, presentation is everything, especially in Japan. You only have to stroll through a department store’s food floor to see how beautifully packaged and arranged everything is. And DIY food decorating is something that a lot of people really get into, whether it’s kyara-ben, deco-nabe, or artfully arranged curry rice.

And speaking of curry rice, here’s how to create an eye-catching deco-curry featuring one of Japan’s most beloved and cuddly mascot characters, Rilakkuma!

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Super Mega Important Debate: Do you shower before work or before bed? 【Poll closed】

In Japan, the majority of people bathe at night before going to bed. Even if they don’t stick to the traditional routine of rinsing off before soaking in a hot bath, most Japanese find the idea of climbing into bed without having at least hopped in the shower first supremely icky – almost as icky as walking around your home while wearing your outdoor shoes.

In the west, however, many of us prefer to shower before leaving the house in the morning. No matter how well you slept the night before, the thought of not washing prior to putting on work clothes and heading out for the day seems pretty gross to most of us.

So for this week’s Super Mega Important Debate, we’re asking you to answer this one simple question: Do you bathe before bed or before work each morning?

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Amazing 3-D printing pen 3Doodler gets a cheaper, slimmer version and workshops in Tokyo 【Video】

About a year ago, we took a look at the 3Doodler, an amazing crafting tool developed by U.S.-based WobbleWorks. Described as a 3-D printing pen, the 3Doodler uses plastic filament to let you draw in mid-air, creating physical objects instead of flat images.

Now we know what you’re all thinking: Where are those 3-D printed Mr. Sato statues we talked about making in our previous article? Well, it turns out we don’t actually have the artistic skills to properly capture the likeness of the head of RocketNews24’s Vice-President of Craziness. Oh, and also we’re cheap.

Thankfully, it looks like there’s a way to solve both of those problems. The updated 3Doodler 2.0 is easier to handle and less expensive than the original model, and there’s even a series of  upcoming workshops in Tokyo that’ll teach you how to get started drawing three-dimensional works of art.

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Head your way to freedom in curiously titled virtual reality game “Headmaster” 【Video】

Oculus, Sony, Valve, and even Samsung have been heralding virtual reality as the future of gaming and entertainment for what feels like an age now. The few glimpses we’ve seen of the fledgling technology have both impressed and intrigued us, but titles that resemble the kind of games we can expect to play when these companies finally launch their respective headsets are still few and far between.

The unusually named Headmaster, however, is a good example of what we can probably expect to play as the technology finds its feet.

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The joy of pancakes, and why they might kill you

Although hardly new, Japan has been undergoing something of a boom in pancake consumption in recent years. With several trendy new restaurants opening up around the country, there has also been a significant rise in the popularity of homemade pancakes as well. Yes, with its warm and fluffy texture and mildly sweet flavor it’s certainly hard to turn down a hotcake, isn’t it?

While everyone is having a good time with their pancakes, some researchers and medical professionals would like to remind us all that pancakes and similar flour based foods have the potential to not only make us very ill, but in some cases may lead to death.

But before you go cursing out these wet blankets of science for ruining yet another beloved food with their health warnings, there’s actually an incredibly easy way to not die from eating flapjacks as well.

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Disney meets classic Japan — see your favorite characters reborn as traditional Japanese crafts!

It’s no secret that Disney has been hugely successful in Japan. The Japanese anime industry may have cultivated a unique style over the years that’s quite different from that of the international entertainment giant, but the public here in Japan definitely seems to love all things Disney, from beautiful lingerie to adorable mini-cakes.

So we guess it’s not too surprising that Disney characters have now been recreated using traditional Japanese crafts, which is the concept behind the Disney Japan Classic Series of merchandise. Join us for a look at what delightful forms the familiar Disney characters have taken at the hands of traditional Japanese artisans!  Read More

What is this kitty trying to tell us? The online mystery of the cat and the cotton swabs

The internet’s full of weird stuff. Usually, it’s really out-there, kooky, insane, bizarre-o weird stuff, but every now and then something comes along which is weird in a baffling way. Take this video of a cat poking some cotton swabs around as if trying to arrange them in a particular way. It was favourited 1.5 thousand times on Twitter, yet nobody commented on it, possibly because no one knows what to make of it.

What is the purpose of the video? Is the cat some kind of feline savant? Is there some deep, philosophical meaning behind the placement of the cotton buds? See if you can work it out…

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